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Trouble With the Curve (8/10)

by Tony Medley

Runtime 110 minutes.

OK for children.

People still watch and read Alice in Wonderland and The Wizard of Oz even though they stray far from reality. So who cares if this is closer to a fairytale than real life?

We get to see superstar Academy award winner Clint Eastwood (Gus), as a septuagenarian baseball scout and absentee father and Oscar®-nominated Amy Adams (Gus's daughter, Mickey, an attorney named after Mickey Mantle, Gus's favorite player) play off one another for almost 2 hours. With both at the top of their games, who could ask for more?

Adding to the fun is singer/actor Justin Timberlake (Johnny) who adds this as another good acting credit with an appealing performance as a washed up former ballplayer turned scout who falls for Mickey, and with whom he has a prickly, tenuous relationship.

Gus is losing his eyesight. Mickey feels ignored and unloved. When Gus is sent to North Carolina to scout a promising, arrogant high school superstar, Bo Gentry (effectively played by Joe Massingill), Mickey takes time out from her job to help Gus out. But Gus doesn't think he needs any help.

What results is a fine tale of relationships. Elevating the quality of the film are fine supporting performances by John Goodman, who plays the chief of scouts for Gus's employer, the Atlanta Braves, Matthew Lillard, who plays Phillip, a Machiavellian ambitious scout out to torpedo Gus, and Robert Patrick, who plays Vince, the apparent owner of the Braves. Lillard, in particular, does a fine job as the hateful Phillip.

There's not much actual baseball action in this film, but what there is is relatively realistic. This is not a baseball movie and one need know nothing about the game to appreciate it. In fact, the denouement is really something that could only come from a Hollywood screenwriter's brain. But, as I said at the start, who cares? This movie has wonderful performances, a sweet, syrupy story, and a rewarding ending. What more do you want from a movie?